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The Zahir

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  67,068 ratings  ·  3,234 reviews
The narrator of  The Zahir  is a bestselling novelist who lives in Paris and enjoys all the privileges money and celebrity bring. His wife of ten years, Esther, is a war correspondent who has disappeared along with a friend, Mikhail, who may or may not be her lover.

Was Esther kidnapped, murdered, or did she simply escape a marriage that left her unfulfilled? The narrator d
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 3rd 2006 by HarperOne (first published 2005)
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Sai Chaitanya Dear Friend, Everybody has different perspective over life. I read your comments, i would agree with you and i would like to add my comments to you. I…moreDear Friend, Everybody has different perspective over life. I read your comments, i would agree with you and i would like to add my comments to you. I feel his journey is more internal rather than going places. I felt it's a meditative journey of who he was? and what person he became?
Also to add if,as you suggested, everything would be of truths and facts then that would become a non fictional case study of reporting person, and what fun in that...?(less)
Samantha Ege It shows how love isn't always perfect like the fairytales we have all grown up with, but it's disappointing due to the harsh reality of how emotional…moreIt shows how love isn't always perfect like the fairytales we have all grown up with, but it's disappointing due to the harsh reality of how emotionally unavailable the protagonist is and how vague and confusing his wife is. Although those are both stereotypical versions of men and women, I think it's pessimistic on how a relationship can and should be. Both characters don't fit with each other, and they see that in some retrospect. It was realistic, but pessimistic.(less)

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 ·  67,068 ratings  ·  3,234 reviews

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Aug 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People in the journey to their personal legend.
Shelves: fictiousaddict
I believe the quotation below will be sufficient to show how brilliant Coelho is:

‘Marie, let’s suppose that two firemen go into a forest to put out a small fire. Afterwards, when they emerge and go over to a stream, the face of one is all smeared with black, while the other man’s face is completely clean. My question is this: which of the two will wash his face?

‘That’s a silly question. The one with the dirty face of course.’

‘No, the one with the dirty face will look at the other man and assu
Ahmad Sharabiani
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
O Zahir = The Zahir, Paulo Coelho
The Zahir is a 2005 novel by the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. Just as in an earlier book, The Alchemist, The Zahir is about a pilgrimage. The book touches on themes of love, loss and obsession. The Zahir was written in Coelho's native language, Portuguese, and it has been translated into 44 languages. The Zahir means 'the obvious' or 'conspicuous' in Arabic. The story revolves around the life of the narrator, a novelist, and in particular his search for his mis
Nov 16, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: drama
So far my least favorite of Coelho's books. A woman leaves her husband with no explanation to find out how to be happy. She leaves no note, no messenger, takes nothing, just seems to disappear. He finds himself in the journey and learns he needs to look for her because he loves her, not because he is obsessed. Along the way other hearts get broken.


"When someone leaves, it's because someone else is about to arrive - I'll find love again."

"In order to be able to find her, I first had to fin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nour Sharif
Feb 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: noone
Recommended to Nour by: no one, thankfully. That means I don't have to kill anyone yet.
2.6 stars
Okay, dear dear Paulo Coelho. Where do I start?

This is how this book briefly was written.


Careful, this review contains spoilers!
(view spoiler)
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have to say, at times I found myself obsessed with this book about obsession. At times, it didn't quite flow or seemed to bring in random points, but I felt like I just "got it" and completely understood where he was coming from. Coelho's words resonated deeply within me, and in fact, helped me to "see" and unlock some feelings that I haven't been able to understand for quite some time. In that sense, it was like an Eat, Pray, Love for me. Not to compare authors, literary styles, or anything l ...more
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 100-pages, owns
The Zahir tells an incredible journey of a man whose wife has left the house without letting him know.

His search for her and the meaning of their marriage and above all, Paulo Coelho's writing is spectacular to watch.

Introduced to me by my sister.
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-reads, fiction
The Zahir is "someone or something which, once we have come into contact with them or it, gradually occupies our every thought, until we can think of nothing else. This can be considered either a state of holiness or of madness." This, and the spellbinding dedication page to Coelho's wife, Christina, made me want to read this novel. Plus, the story initially lured me. A writer's war correspondent wife goes missing. At first he's treated like a suspect until it's determined that she wasn't abduct ...more
Nov 26, 2007 rated it did not like it
I was diasspointed with this and I would consider myself a fan of Paolo Coelho. I just don't think this lived up to his usual work. The plot was weak and there was a lot of annoying, sentimental stream-of-consciousness drivel about the meaning of love and the meaning of life. It's true that these are Coelho's usual themes but I think he's gotten a bit carried away with all the sentiment in this novel and forgotten the story in the process. The only thing that kept me reading until the end was my ...more
Mar 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: latin-america
The (Zahir) is a concept that was totally new to me , I had to do some further research to find out that it is related to the Sufi , I read the book in English but after noticing the Arabic edition , I would have preferred if it was titled (Al zaher الظاهر ) as a translation not as a repetition !
I liked the definition he reached at the ednd :
(The zahir was the fixation on everything that had been passed from generation to generation ; it left no question unanswered , it looks up all the space ;
Apr 26, 2007 rated it liked it
wow. do you know how and when i discovered this author? at the airport bookstore- at la guardia, the american terminal-the one next to the dunkin donuts/baskin robbins that one must ignore... you know how difficult it is to find something worthwhile to read in the airport bookstore, and i was about to buy something else- this book was in the low corner pocket and i saw it. the cover, and the title, are enticing, but could have been just over the top. but i usually test drive books buy opening th ...more
senjuti (센주티)
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paulo-coelho
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
A great book for anyone struggling with attachment or ownership of something that you love.

"I heard other people speaking in the name of freedom and the more they defended this unique right, the more enslaved the seemed to be to the parent's wishes, to a marriage in which they had promised to stay with the other person "for the rest of their lives," to the bathroom scales, to their diet, to the half-finished projects, to lovers to whom they were incapable of saying "No", or "It's over", to weeke
Feb 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Typical Coelho...lots of really good quotes. whether you agree with them or not does not really matter but he makes you think by hitting the extremes.

When i get time i will type my favorite two pages which I think summarize the whole book. here are some others.

"Although I know that I may have lost forever the woman I love, I must try to enjoy all the graces that God has given me today. Grace cannot be hoarded. There are no banks where it can be deposited to be used when I feel more at peace wit
Ashley Lauren
Apr 12, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: do-not-recommend
This book was nothing like I expected. The back description was misleading - as a novice traveller I saw that the narrator of the book was going to go through "Spain, France, Croatia" etc in order to find the love of his life. Do not be fooled, there is little to no description of these places. In fact, there is no description of Spain at all. Thoroughly disappointing.

Besides that the book itself was... interesting. I admit it is a much different story than I have ever read and I was given some
Dominic Carrillo
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I liked The Alchemist... And I liked a few other Coelho novels- especially if I happened to be reading them at just the right time in my life. I stopped reading The Zahir at pg. 200 because I couldn't take any more of the mystical, inner voice, follow-the-signs, journey-seeking cheeseball shit that seems to be this author's bread and butter. I admit, I've enjoyed Coelho at certain times and when in the right mood. But this time it came across to me as an author's regurgitation of the same theme, ...more
Suzie Toumeh
Nov 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: spirituality, romance
The very little things that made me detest this book:

I believe that each reader creates his own film inside his head, gives faces to the characters, constructs every scene, hears the voices, smells the smells. And that is why, whenever a reader goes to see a film based on a novel that he likes, he leaves feeling disappointed, saying: “The book is so much better than the film.”

The thing is, Paulo never describes ANYONE or ANYTHING clearly.

In this book although the main character is obs
Tamim Nashed
Apr 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I kept reading it and finished it in a short time.... this means that i love it.... It helps you understand the real meaning of can you reach your goals... "the energy of love" which i believe in
Nov 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Brad by: Giovanna
Shelves: philosophical
This book wasn't written for me. I am not on a search for spirituality; I am not trying to understand my spirituality; I don't even think humanity itself is all that special, and I certainly don’t believe spirituality is what separates us from the beasts. So from the earliest moments of The Zahir I felt like a tourist, an unwelcome voyeur.

But then this book was written for me because, stripping away all the talk of spirituality, I am looking for complete sensuality, complete living, complete be
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
The Zahir is the sixth stand-alone book by Brazil-born author, Paulo Coelho. It is translated from Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa. Esther, a journalist and the wife of a best-selling author disappears from their home in Paris. Once the police release him from custody, dismissing the idea that he may have been responsible, he begins to wonder what has happened. He is soon convinced that she left him voluntarily, despite her occasionally dangerous job as a war correspondent. For two years, he r ...more
Engy Moussa
May 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I am momentarily wordless.. But I will eventually have to say something, if not lots of things, on the exceptional Coelho’s novel The Zahir. I may begin by saying that this novel was like a textbook on real life and true love for me. It introduced me to many new concepts, such as personal history, as well as to many interesting anecdotes that I would pay anything to my memory so it always remembers them. I don’t think that I ever liked as many statements, at some points whole pages, in one book. ...more
Feb 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
I am not a fan of this author. At all. I'm sorry but I find his books to be extremely boring. I am not a fan of books that focus on the protagonist trying to find their inner happiness or spirituality or some shit. It's all like it's not about the ending but the journey there blah blah. The moral of the story is blah blah. Total snoozefest. I would not have even read this book if I didn't have to read it for a challenge. Plus I have no idea what the protagonist's name is. Was it ever mentioned? ...more
Oct 19, 2015 rated it did not like it
Can I give no star to this book? No? Okay. Let's start. I AM SO GLAD I FINALLY FINISHED IT because it was going on and on forever with no purpose. Why I hate it, you ask? Because it pretends to be something it's not and has an annoying main character. It's the best example for how not to write a book. You know the "show, don't tell" advice that writers give a lot? THIS BOOK IS ONLY SAYING AND TELLING AND HOPES THE WORDS BECOME SHOW. But you can't say the character changed and evolved (and it's n ...more
Barbana Kurti
Jul 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
The Zahir in my opinion Is not a novel but a collection of “wise” quotations. The plot is weak and the characters have no development at all. It seems like the author forgot about the story and in the end he kind of remembered that he has to finish the plot.

The main character is arrogant has an excessive urge for admiration, entitled and idiotic.
People think that being different equates to being better, that different thoughts mean better thoughts. that is mostly not true. Being different mean
Yusra Zainab Laghari
This book was not of the same quality as Alchemist but still presented some noble and elevated concepts as presented in all of paulo's books and perhaps the reason I read his books is that they always tend to feature some sort of spiritual quest. There is also a aspect of Sufism in Paulo's books which make them more eminent.

The unnamed narrator of this story is a writer whose wife, Esther, a war correspondent leaves him suddenly without any information or trace of leaving. When she disappears, h
Dec 25, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: in-my-library

I like how Paulo Coelho be diffrent in each of his novels. However, the signature of giving wisdomes and life lessons still the profe for the novel being Paulo's.

I like this novel and the feelings and lessons expressed in it but I really didn't feel comfortable about the main character in this novel however it looks so real. I can't be so free like him and I am not looking for that for sure :).
Mariam Alseba
Jun 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
this book is not spiritual this book is bullshit.
i gavr cohelo three chances, i read his most famous and best sellers and one of his least known books, but no... khalas! cohelo is a preachy self-centered concieted know-it-all.

cohelo needs to stop generlizing everything, (no, cohelo, not all women worry about their looks, not all people are sad individuals because they spend their money on vacations to impress their friends...)
you need to chill.
also, whtsap with arabs being so impressed with
Chris Dietzel
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Combine autobiographical details of Coelho's life (his mindset before following his dream, his life and mental state before and after writing The Alchemist) with a Romantic's version of the movie, "The Vanishing" (the original French version, not the terrible U.S. remake) and you have 'The Zahir.' Coelho does a great job of writing to a spiritual mystery and providing the type of life-learning story readers of the author have grown to enjoy. It says a lot about how much I love 'The Alchemist' th ...more
Marziye Foroughi
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I believe The Zahir is a chain of events with really great quotations rather than a novel because it has no climax, rising and falling action. It deals with Sufism, psychology and somehow magic realism. Its main themes are love, loss, obsession, marriage.
Coelho's words resonated deeply within me and in fact, helped me to "see" and unlock some feelings that I haven't been able to understand for quite some time.
you should know yourself before doing anything special in your life. this is the rule
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've read all Paulo Coelho books and The Zahir has to be my favourite. I absolutely loved this book and read it three times. I must say, don't get your hopes up because it does require that you be in a certain state of mind to really enjoy it. I don't think this book will be appealing to someone who has a traditional outlook on marriage and relationships, or someone who enjoys commitment. I read this book when I was in a two year relationship in which I was always disappearing from months at a t ...more
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Freedom 1 14 Mar 07, 2016 11:25AM  
50 pages in..... 18 147 Apr 15, 2015 02:14PM  
My Question 2 41 Apr 07, 2015 09:16PM  
Goodreads Librari...: hardcover not ebook 2 18 Aug 09, 2013 08:42AM  
Paulo Coelho Group 13 259 Jul 04, 2013 06:00AM  

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The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO was born in 1947 in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Before dedicating his life completely to literature, he worked as theatre director and actor, lyricist and journalist. In 1986, PAULO COELHO did the pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella, an experience later to be documented in his book The Pilgrimage. In the following year, COELHO published The Alchemist. Slow in ...more

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“Ester asked why people are sad.
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